Big box Kohl’s supported by neighbors

Thu, 09/06/2007 - 3:47pm
By: John Munford

Developer wants new traffic light on Hwy. 54 West

Big box Kohl’s supported by neighbors

A Tuesday night meeting at Peachtree City City Hall practically turned into a pro-big box lovefest.

Several residents from the Cardiff Park and Planterra Ridge neighborhoods spoke in favor of the City Council waiving its big box rules, which cap store sizes at 32,000 square feet, for a proposed 89,000 square-foot Kohl’s Department Store south of Ga. Highway 54 at Line Creek Drive.

Developer Doug McMurrain is asking the city to either sell or trade him the current city streets on the parcel: Line Creek Drive and Line Creek Court, which the council is under no obligation to do. But if those streets remain, there will not be enough room for the Kohl’s and thus the development won’t look as nice as it can, McMurrain said.

McMurrain, for his part, is pledging to make the shopping center look like The Avenue with decorative pavers, fountains and several outdoor courtyards. There will also be an outdoor music system similar to The Avenue’s.

But McMurrain’s Central Park will have one dominant feature that The Avenue doesn’t have: an 89,000 square foot building. The largest building in The Avenue is less than 20,000 square feet: the Books-A-Million, according to City Planner David Rast.

Capital City will also be looking to erect a stoplight on Ga. Highway 54 and Line Creek Drive, which is in-between Huddleston Road and MacDuff Parkway.

McMurrain has been working with residents of the adjacent Cardiff Park and Planterra Ridge subdivision for about a year to hammer out details and get their approval on the development before taking it to the City Council. He admitted to drawing a site plan a few months ago that left the current streets and showed a few stores that might not be well received by Peachtree City residents, including a Hooter’s restaurant, a Quik Trip convenience store and a Pep Boys auto parts store.

While the neighbors’ support could at least be chalked up in part to that tactic from McMurrain, several residents lauded him for making concessions on the development, such as a pledge to add landscaping, berms and screening walls along the rear of the property which borders Cardiff Park. McMurrain has also committed to beefing up the landscaping at the entrance to Planterra Ridge along Ga. Highway 54 and to limiting truck traffic at the shopping center to between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

McMurrain said Kohl’s has committed to designing a store with fake facades in an effort to make the building look nicer.

Although Mayor Harold Logsdon and Councilman Steve Boone said they favor the Kohl’s proposal from McMurrain, council members Stuart Kourajian and Cyndi Plunkett were against it, and new councilman Mike Harman was undecided.

The plan will be considered by the planning commission during a workshop format at its meeting Monday night at 7 p.m.

Plunkett said that many citizens don’t want regional shopping centers located in Peachtree City. She also noted that the land has been zoned commercial, so neighbors should have been aware of the potential for development on that site.

Boone said he thought the Kohl’s plan would allow for the architecture of the shopping center to be nicer, but Kourajian noted that there is already an existing architectural overlay for the site that requires the shopping center to look like the one across Ga. Highway 54: McIntosh Village.

Harman said he agreed with Plunkett that the city should get more input from residents in other areas of the city before making a decision on the big box issue. Paul Van’t Hof, president of the Peachtree City Civic Association — a group of homeowner’s association presidents — said the civic association membership is divided on the issue of whether or not the Kohl’s proposal is a good idea.

Council agreed by consensus to allow city staff to explore the idea of selling the streets to Capital City or swapping land of equal or greater value to allow the company to acquire the streets.

McMurrain said he spent $500,000 in legal bills fighting the city on the Wal-Mart and Home Depot developments, and he wants to avoid going that route for this property. In fact, if the city doesn’t either sell or trade with Capital City for the road, McMurrain said he could easily sell the property to another commercial developer.

“But I don’t want to do that because it’s not the right thing to do for Peachtree City,” McMurrain said.

Logsdon agreed: “Plan B is not a plan that will look good in Peachtree City.”

Kourajian said he worried that granting a special use permit for a big box store might make it easier for large stores to be built in other areas of the city. City Attorney Ted Meeker said while other stores could make that legal argument, he didn’t think the granting of a special use permit would create a situation that would force the city to grant those permits to all future developers seeking to build large stores.

Boone said he also supported the plan because it would improve sales tax revenue “that we dearly need in our coffers.”

McMurrain even had two current planning commissioners in his corner, including Marty Mullin, who is an architect, and Patrick Staples, who lives in Cardiff Park.

Staples said the plan had facets the city looks for in quality developments including greenspace, buffers, accommodations for pedestrian traffic and family-centered activities.

Mullin said the challenge will be communicating the matter to citizens.

“Doug has been willing to step up to the plate,” Mullin said.

Beth Pullias, president of the Kedron Hills Community Association, said talking with her neighbors, roughly 90 percent of them don’t want a big box store in Peachtree City.

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Stinger's picture
Submitted by Stinger on Mon, 09/10/2007 - 10:24am.

As a resident of the "West Side" I just can't wait to add a 5th traffic light between 74 and the city limit. Maybe with all this extra sales tax revenue, we can four lane the "Alternate Exit"/"54-West Bypass" by Wal-Mart too! While we are at it, why not sprinkle in a few traffic lights on that road as well.

You could think of them as permanent Christmas lights twinkling red and green as you pass through the West side of the city...and don't worry, you will have plenty of time to enjoy them while you sit in traffic.

Wait, I just remembered; the city has an ordinance against leaving up Christmas Lights... No problem, we can just waive that ordinance too.

You might even say this is, dare I say, WIN-WIN.

Submitted by ConfushaSay on Mon, 09/10/2007 - 11:42am.

Christmas lights ordinance? No problem Stinger. I'm sure you can waive that one. Our Tonto707 here in Tyrone said, anyone can write an ordinance too.

Submitted by mg30269 on Sat, 09/08/2007 - 11:10am.

I think it's interesting to see how John Mumford's buzzwords had their intended effect considering that most of these readers did not attend the meeting. Nice job John. Throw a bomb into the ant pile and watch the hits on your site go up. Next time listen to what is being said and lay off the buzzwords and two second snapshots.

Readers, ask your self: do you think that the residents of Cardiff Park and Planterra have different values or care about Peachtree City any less than you do? If they didn't live in those neighborhoods would they feel the same way about the proposal? Why did it take over a year for this consensus to come about? What is it about the term "big box" that sets you off?

Go to a few or our City's Council meetings or Planning Commission meetings. See what is said at the meeting and then read what this second rate reporter writes up the next day to compare what you read to what you heard. The topic of discussion doesn't matter. Ask yourself if you are being intentionally manipulated by buzzwords and emotion.

nightsunstar's picture
Submitted by nightsunstar on Sat, 09/08/2007 - 8:36am.

amen to what you're all saying, i hope that you are also e-mailing our city council members as well. this is pure rubbish, you are right on about the scare tactics. does this mean they're getting rid of the nature area by planterra? i hope not. people use it, it's beautiful and well, one less place to simply be if they knock it down for a hooters (!) or a kohl's. ah, but the FOUNTAINS will be SO upperclass - oh yes! the REAL charm of PTC is in its shopping centers! not the fact that it still has some green...

Submitted by thebiggun on Sat, 09/08/2007 - 8:58am.

You should take these 3 Stooges and put them in a carnival side show so the citizens could take their chances throwing softballs at their heads. McMurrain is using the city to line his pockets with gold, and has Logsdon and Boone dancing like finger puppets as he does it. Makes you wonder what is in it for them. These guys will finish destroying PTC and then move away and the tax payers will spend 500% more money then is generated in sales tax to defend ourselves from traffic, crime and all the others things that come with the old Big Box stores.

Maybe someone should take a long look at McMurrain and his background and start posting it so everyone can realy see the kind of slim he really is. Wake up PTC !!!!!!

Submitted by John M on Fri, 09/07/2007 - 1:33pm.

A friend I play golf with who lives in Cardiff Park told me the developer threatened to put in a Hooters and other noisy stuff if he didn't get his Kohls. He was going to make their lives miserable.

What ever happened to not giving in to terrorist?

"I'm NOT John Munford"

Submitted by skyspy on Fri, 09/07/2007 - 3:47pm.

Gee what a good ol family values developer. I thought he supposedly lives in cardiff park?? So this gem actually has threatened his neighbors???

Classy! Really classy! No wonder harold loves this jerk so much.

How much stock does harold own in kohls?? I would love to know why he is pushing for this garbage? How much money did kohls and this flunkie developer give to harold run for office?

This stinks like the illegal dump under the police station.

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 09/06/2007 - 9:43pm.

Oh geeee, stop, you are scaring us. Is that the best you have got?? Build a hooters. Where would the cops go for drug and sex stings if it weren't for you??

Do us a favor sell it to Frontgate, or Pottery Barn, or Smith Hawkin, or Trader Joes.

Now stop threatening to leave. Publix just sold out of kleenix because of your idle threats(dare to dream that you would be promising to leave)

Gee what would we do if someone better came along??

Puuuuuhhhlllleeessse. That is the oldest scam in the book. What are you going to do if we don't cave in to your threats?? Take our marbles at recess?? Maybe you'll tell our moms we were cussing?? OOhhh, maybe you will take your toys, and what? Go home?

Riiiggghhttt. Ok, umm, yeah, we have never, ever seen this sleazy scam before. You really got us with that one. What small fry fly-by-night buisness loser you must be. How much of a flunkie do you have to be to insist on building a buisness where most of the small town doesn't want you??

Submitted by PTCGuy on Thu, 09/06/2007 - 7:53pm.

A four lane, divided, State Highway is the proper place to put commercial developments. Kohl's is a good store and the whole concept sounds like it will be a very nice addition to PTC...

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Thu, 09/06/2007 - 6:18pm.

The Kohl's building will make a nice place for Goodwill to upgrade to in the future.

Can't the Council see what's going on?

Submitted by John M on Mon, 09/10/2007 - 5:47pm.

No McDonoughDawg, every store in Fayetteville wants to also be in Peachtree City, so I'm thinking the Kohls will eventually be a Big Lots with furniture and grocery. Can't wait.

"I'm NOT John Munford"

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 09/06/2007 - 6:27pm.

kohls would be the main target for drug stings. Our cops are soooo booorrrreeedd you know?! We really neeeeed that store, and fly-by-night-developer.

God forbid we would have a Trader Joe's or a Frontgate, or Pottery Barn. Imagine people shopping at a Whole Foods Market here? Dare to dream.

Ok, I better stop with this "upscale store" fantasy or chief murray and kids will search my house for drugs.

chriss82's picture
Submitted by chriss82 on Thu, 09/06/2007 - 6:05pm.

We dont need a Kohls in PTC. We could use a Hooter's though. Or a Hot Topic. Put some new and intresting stores here for all of us!

poipendicular's picture
Submitted by poipendicular on Mon, 09/10/2007 - 8:16pm.

I would pass on the Hot Topic stores. I remember when that little chain began in Southern Cal. I've seen the clientèle it draws. Not worth it. Sorry kids you're gonna have to ask your parents to drive you up town to shop at that store. I don't want it here.

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